11/28/2018, 11.46
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Chinese Priest: The Holy See should concern itself with bishops in prison

by P. Pietro (伯铎神父)

Peter, who has undergone several years of imprisonment because of the faith, advises the Vatican to take also to heart the situation of the "brothers who are still suffering". The Sino-Vatican agreement produces confusion. Some doubts about the morality of the illegitimate bishops, who are now reconciled. Esteem for Pope Francis.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - "The Holy See should concern itself with bishops who are still in prison", comforting "the brothers who are still suffering": says Fr. Peter, a priest from central China, who in the past also suffered prison. While appreciating the mission of Pope Francis, Fr. Peter confesses to being confused by the Sino-Vatican agreement. He believes it is unjust to place on the same level "the bishops who have always remained faithful and those who have been ordained illegitimately" and who have been forgiven by the pontiff, on the same level. Here is what Fr. Peter wrote, in a message entitled: "Conflicting thoughts in my heart".

Almost without realizing it, I have been in the Church for three generations now. If I look back at the last 30 years, many conflicting feelings fill my heart, and I feel sad.

During the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, although we were in a hostile environment, often risking prison too, clarity of faith and so many courageous witnesses helped me to face everything without fear.

I studied theology in a very difficult context, often hidden here and there, eating polenta, radish pickles, chewing on old rice, singing hymns of praise to God and always preparing myself with a spirit of sacrifice. A joyful soul filled me with gratitude and I experienced profound happiness with God.

Despite being detained twice, in the 1980s and 1990s, I did not retire because of these attacks, nor did I stop spreading the Gospel.

After the death of Pope John Paul II, on 2 April 2005, Benedict XVI was elected on 19 April 2005 as the successor of Saint Peter. Although I initially thought that Benedict XVI was too conservative, this did not shake my loyalty to the Pope.

The theological rigor of Benedict XVI and his profound spirituality helped me to admire the greatness of God. The Chinese Church in the era of Pope John Paul II received many privileges. On May 27, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI published a letter to Chinese Catholics, with the clear intention of clarifying the chaos that had been created. In any case, the trust and the will to witness for the Lord has never failed in me.

On 28 February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI took the initiative to resign, leaving the world in a state of dismay. I too felt myself collapse. On March 13, 2013, the Argentine bishop Bergoglio was elected Pope, with the name of Francis. The election of Pope Francis immediately gave the impression of a new season for the Church.

Both for the world and for China, his moves and strategies have often been unexpected. Perhaps this is because the indications of the ecclesiastical authorities of the past for the Chinese Church are still deeply impressed in me, perhaps it is because of my overly rooted and rigid understanding of the theology of the past, but the fact is that the secret agreement signed by the Holy See and China has caused me deep confusion and loss. I do not intend to dwell on the morality of legitimized bishops here, but I think it is unfair to subordinate bishops who have always remained faithful to those who have been illegally ordained.

In particular, the Holy See should take care of the bishops who are still in prison, ensuring that these pastors, imprisoned for their faith, obtaining the freedom and rights they deserve. Otherwise, these brothers and all those who are still suffering will never know if their testimony still makes sense.

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